Mini-percutaneous nephrolithotomy is a safe alternative to extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy for high-density, renal stones: a prospective, randomised trial

BJU Int. 2021 Dec;128(6):744-751. doi: 10.1111/bju.15493. Epub 2021 Jun 13.


Objectives: To compare the outcomes of miniaturised percutaneous nephrolithotomy (mini-PCNL) and extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL) in the management of 10-20 mm, non-lower pole, renal stones.

Patients and methods: This prospective randomised double-arm trial was conducted at a tertiary care hospital in Egypt from February to December 2020. Adult patients with single, non-lower pole, high-density (≥1000 HU) renal stones were randomised to receive mini-PCNL or ESWL. The stone-free rate (SFR); operative, fluoroscopy and hospitalisation times; blood loss; auxiliary procedures; retreatment; unscheduled hospital readmission; and complications were compared between the groups.

Results: The primary analysis included 34 patients in the mini-PCNL group and 33 in the ESWL group. Overall, the SFR was 97.1% in the mini-PCNL group vs 30.3% in the ESWL group (P < 0.001). All patients in the ESWL group required retreatment, and none of them were stone-free after the first ESWL session. None of the patients in the mini-PCNL group required retreatment. The overall operative time, fluoroscopy time, auxiliary procedure, retreatment, and unscheduled hospital readmission were significantly higher in the ESWL group. The hospital stay and decrease in the haemoglobin level were significantly higher in the mini-PCNL group. The groups were comparable for the overall complication rate.

Conclusions: Mini-PCNL is more effective than ESWL for treating 10-20 mm, high-density, non-lower pole renal stones. Mini-PCNL has the advantages of a high SFR and abolishing the need for retreatment and re-hospitalisation.

Keywords: high density; mini-percutaneous nephrolithotomy; non-lower pole; renal stones; shockwave lithotripsy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Loss, Surgical
  • Female
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Humans
  • Kidney Calculi / therapy*
  • Length of Stay
  • Lithotripsy / adverse effects*
  • Lithotripsy / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrolithotomy, Percutaneous / adverse effects*
  • Nephrolithotomy, Percutaneous / methods*
  • Operative Time
  • Patient Readmission
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retreatment
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult